Photo: John Poimiroo

OWAC professional Awards

Excellence in Craft

The purpose of this contest is to reward exceptional “outdoor” journalism (writing, reporting, opinion/editorial, broadcasting, photography, videography, cinematography and digital communications) produced by OWAC members. Entries with clear connection to the outdoors, outdoor recreation, wildlife, public lands and other outdoor subjects are sought. This includes writing about outdoor sports, recreation, nature and travel.

We have streamlined this awards program by reducing the number of categories and adding cash awards for the top three recipients in each category. Plus, we will be moving the program onto a digital platform for easier submissions and a simpler judging process. Check back here for full details and a link to enter as soon as the contest opens. 

2021 Excellence in Craft Awards
will open for entries on
February 1, 2021.

Californian of the Year

Californian of the Year was established by OWAC in 1993. The award is the most prestigious given by OWAC to honor “outdoors men and women who have done the most to improve the environment and save fish and wildlife in California.”

Past recipients have been teachers, biologists, wildlife advocates, politicians, lands agency managers and everyday citizens who have taken up a cause benefitting the environment, wildlife and/or fish.

Active and supporting members of OWAC make the selection. The 2020 Californian of the Year was awarded to Lori Gray.

2021 Californian of the Year
will open for nominations
in July 2021.

BoB Awards

The BoB Awards (Best of Board) recognizes excellence in media communication about the OUTDOORS by members of the Board of Directors of the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC). This is a test of the awards program technology and is not likely to ever be repeated.

2020 BoB Awards is open for submissions until 8pm (PST) on November 20, 2020.

Student Awards

The Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing Contest, which is open to California high school students, is named for the late wife of Don Vachini, long-time OWAC member and one of California’s foremost outdoor writers and photographers.

Four high school seniors in the Novato and Petaluma School Districts won top awards in the Pat Vachini Outdoor Writing Contest sponsored by the Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Watchable Wildlife

The California Watchable Wildlife Project celebrates the state’s wildlife and diverse habitats by acknowledging and elevating the value of wildlife viewing to benefit individuals, families, communities, and industries while fostering awareness and support for conservation and protection of wildlife and habitats.

This program administers annual wildlife photography contest, which OWAC is proud to help promote.

You are invited to submit your very best photos of California wildlife for the 2020 California Wildlife Photo of the Year contest.

The 2020 contest has five submission *Entry Periods, beginning in January, 2020 and ending October 31, 2020. The final judging period, November – December, 2020, is reserved for selecting the Photo of the Year. The 2020 contest is presented by California Watchable Wildlife and Outdoor California, and sponsored by Sierra Nevada Conservancy and Out of this World Optics.

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